This is a comprehensive look at the Fulton Mall (future Fulton Street) in Fresno, 2 months before construction is scheduled to end. Fresno is spending around $20 million to eliminate a pedestrian mall and re-open it to vehicles and vehicular parking. The intention behind it is to bring economic vitality to the corridor.
My last update was in January. Back then, we were told construction would end in May 2017, a delay from the original date of November 2016.
I was looking forward to this walk, hoping things would be looking up after a year of damaging construction. Sadly, the corridor looked the worst that I have ever seen. Most businesses were closed, many permanently.
I saw maybe 8 people, total. I always take my photos on weekend afternoons, so I am comparing directly between my previous visits, and I have never seen it this dead. Even when the prison-style fencing was up last year, there were more people.
Note that in the days since I took these photos, there have been a few changes: benches were added, some of the artwork was uncovered, and some of the vehicular barriers were removed.
Again, this is a very comprehensive look, so click ahead to load a ton of photos.
As with all the previous updates, we start at the parking lot by the IRS building (Merced Street). Also as with the previous updates, photos are from a Saturday.
At the new Merced Street, construction unceremoniously ends at the existing alley. Curious about the ADA statute here, since the sidewalk just ends in a roadway, shouldn’t there be the truncated domes to guide the blind?
Drivers will be forced to navigate this beautiful alley.
Pretty ridiculous sign. “Cross traffic does not stop”. It’s a 15mph alley, not a highway.
The “extra wide” sidewalks to get quite narrow here
This is poor planning.
An entire two parking spots were carved out. Plantings are already in, which is nice.
The vegetation looks nice. Hopefully, it is maintained.
Merced Street to Tuolumne Street
We take a quick detour north one block.
Looking across to the rest of Merced Street
Any plans to bring back the entrance here?
Still looks like a dump.
One of the nice river fountains. Very pretty, but does limit walking space. (I believe this fountain was opened on September 19).
They didn’t do much with the abandoned street here. Not even a line of trees.
This is really the best they could do?
On one hand, it is fantastic to see these buttons placed for maximum convenience. On the other hand, do we really need buttons?
The large sidewalk bumpout in front of the theater. Just wish it was a wee bit longer.
They took a huge chomp out of the road space here.
Looking to the (finally) reopened bridge. That’s the High Speed Rail project though. I like the traffic signal they used.
They could get angled parking here now, unsure if that is the eventual plan.
Looking down the street
The other side of that abandoned street.
Not project related, but they’ve been doing stuff here for awhile now…anyone know what exactly?
Also not project related, but they’re redoing the walkway between the IRS and Hotel Fresno.
The path was already there, but it looks wider now.
Still just sort of ends.
I assume it was a road before the IRS
Merced Street to Fresno Street
Ok, so we jump back to where we started, at Merced Street, and move south.
What used to be Peeves Pub, which was Fresno Brewing Company, which was Come And Get It Chicken and Waffles, which was…. I don’t remember that far back.
Now it is:
Pre-construction, supporters of this project raved about how the new design would allow for great outdoor seating. Let’s compare.
The Old Fulton Mall
The New Fulton Street
Am I crazy for having no interest in sitting on that narrow sidewalk, next to a lifted pickup truck?
Parsley Cafe was recently featured in a Fresno Bee article.
The long lines at Parsley Garden Cafe are long gone. Since March 2016, when the bulldozers and jackhammers started tearing up the mall to prepare for the reopening of Fulton Street, business has dropped nearly 70 percent, Partida says.
For months, potentia customers had to negotiate a maze of fences and construction noise in order to reach the place.Most didn’t bother.
“Nobody come,” Partida sighs. “Nobody wanted to deal with all these things. We even opened the back door and nobody come.”
The difference the old tree makes is notable. Ridiculous that they couldn’t preserve more.
The planting area at the corner looks nice. Again, I hope it is maintained.
Unfortunately… They had good food.
Believing only gets you so far.
Making our way down, we come across a consistent failure that the City of Fresno failed to address.
How does a pedestrian cross the street?
How is one expected to reach the next block of businesses?
The traffic signal works (blinking red), but the crosswalk is blocked in every direction.
We finally make it across, by crossing illegally and unsafely. (Note the guy trying to make it in)
Fresno Street to Mariposa Mall
This block is still a mess.
At least these trees were given enough dirt.
One of the few stores that have made it through construction. It is a chain.
Payless did not make it (although to be fair, the whole company is in trouble).
Mariposa Street to Tulare Street
This is about year 10 of the very gradual refurbishment of this building. More lofts going in.
Hooray, parking, I can feel the vitality
Woops, dead end due to the underpass. Have fun in that alley bro. Nothing says “come shop here” like an alley.
North Fresno will love it in here.
This part did not change.
Photos of the reconstructed bus station will come in a BRT update.
So turning back to the maze, I mean mall….
I believe those are people 4 and 5 I saw today.
Nice to see this come back. Will it have benches?
Because I have seen zero benches.
This restaurant has remained in business fortunately.
Here, some, but not all of the crosswalks were open.
Always a classic.
Walking north on this side of the block, we’ll get back to the southern block in a bit.
These next guys were just featured in a Fresno Bee article, today!
The ice cream freezer at Casa Latina hasn’t been restocked in weeks. Nor is it stationed near the front door, where the selection of frozen, flavorful treats is more accessible to Jesus Diaz’s customers.
Why not? No need. Since April 2016, when construction crews started tearing up the old mall, they stopped coming.
“I used to fill this thing up once a week,” Diaz laments, nodding toward the freezer. “Now it’s been three weeks and it still has a lot of ice cream.”
Before construction, business was steady. A slow day would still put $600 to $700 in the cash register.
“Sometimes I make $150 per day,” Diaz says. “For this place, that’s not good. Look around. There’s nobody here.”
The only people inside the store, besides Diaz and myself, are his wife and daughter. He had to let two part-time employees go because he didn’t have money to pay them. Nor does he have the money to pay an $1,800 PG&E bill that’s two months’ overdue. But he must find a way, because the utility company recently sent a seven-day notice.
Indeed, the owner seemed very happy to see us come in, although we were only there for drinks. It’s a great place to stop, because they’re open past 4pm.
They lost a lot of sidewalk space too. This is what they have now:
And what they used to have:
Super narrow up here
Now back to the main “square” (Mariposa) where a little stage is set up.
These folks aren’t able to roam anymore.The Fresno Bee article above says apparently the city hasn’t even decided if they’ll still be allowed. Wow.
Back at Payless.
Only way back is the other side of the street. I guess the corner cafe here went out of business as well? They were open for like a week.
The side with trees looks nicer.
Now we look at the one remaining portion of Mariposa Street
Looking towards the mall. This bumpout with trees is new and much appreciated.
Sadly, one didn’t make it. Apparently, planting trees in August is a bad idea. Who could have guessed?
Looking up Broadway
And to Fulton
This is still shameful.
Pretty obvious where the project boundary is
Tulare to Kern
Ok, back on Fulton, looking north
And looking south
Get rid of the parking and you have a sweet area for trees
Not sure what this is.
This area is pretty boring
Mystery fountain! (It may have since been uncovered)
I like this
Kern Street to Inyo Street
At this corner we get to the one and only section of the mall that was preserved
Not a 100% pedestrian mall, as the alley cuts through
An odd choice, but ok
They left the ugly street light
Looking away from the stadium
Moving back towards Fulton, art peeping out
Across the street
Super effective sign.
Hey guys come park at the new Fulton Street!
Uh, neither elevator works, but the stairs are open!
I typically go up to get some shots, but I passed.
This absolutely baffles me.
Supposedly, once the street construction ends, this lot will see an exciting new building. Hopefully.
Almost at the end.
A new bumpout and living proof that adding cars guarantees lively business….oh
And at the very end of the project, looking north.
And that’s it for Fulton!
Good to see the brewery + beer garden doing well, even on a hot day.
And if you drive and park, watch the curb across the street. It is very high, so your car will hit it. Need a lifted white pickup I guess.
Next posts will be BRT construction and High Speed rail!